Abu Dhabi

A 50-minute theatrical masterpiece showcasing Emirati heritage and values will regale a packed audience in the capital during the Legacy of our Ancestors show on December 2.

The show, produced by the Organising Committee of the Official 48th UAE National Day celebration in collaboration with Flash Entertainment, will be held at the Zayed Sports City, and has been developed by 5,000 people from 70 different countries.

“We expect 20,000 people to experience this masterpiece, which is aimed at highlighting the Emirati morals and values that have been passed down through the generations,” Saeed Al Suwaidi, representative at the Organising Committee, told Gulf News at a press conference on Sunday.

He was speaking ahead of a media tour of the backstage preparation for the show.

According to Al Suwaidi, the “epic scale of the production, coupled with the rich tapestry of vales derived from [the most precious Emirati stories]”, will make the show unforgettable.

The narrative itself was developed by local artistes, in collaboration with international experts, and revolves around stories of courage and pride, and about people who are resourceful, resilient, honourable and devoted.

About 10,000 square metres of staging – similar to eight Olympic-sized swimming pools – has been set up for the show. There are 22 screens to bring the production alive, and eight composers in collaboration with British instrumentalists, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, have composed the original soundtrack for the show.

Michael Scott-Mitchell, production designer, said the sets have been built to resemble a dreamscape, lit up by a number of moons, including an 18-metre LED moon on the backdrop.

“Our starting point was a series of traditional poems, and we used them to imagine and bring alive this set,” Scott-Mitchell said.

For the 900 performers on the day, more than 7,200 hours have been spent producing 1,700 costumes. These were built in keeping with traditional Emirati details, including the type of fabric and the design of the outfits, said Susan Kulkarni.

“We’ve set the costumes in the pre-oil era, researching the period through collections of photographs from the time. These also helped us determine the kinds of hairstyles for our performers, as well as the type of makeup for them,” she explained.

To lend authenticity, 1,800 props have been built from scratch, including daggers, sailboats, woven baskets, handheld moons, palm fronds and lanterns, as well as 12 lifesize camels that are operated by three people.

Al Suwaidi urged people to purchase tickets for the show, which is scheduled to be held after 6:30 PM on National Day.

“We’ve been working on this show for months, and in keeping with the spirit of tolerance, people from 70 different countries have contributed to it. It will be something that people of all ages can enjoy, and I urge them to register,” he said.

Legacy of our Ancestors

Where: Zayed Sports City

When: December 2, after 6:30 PM. Gates open at 4PM

Parking will be available at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, and at the Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Shuttles will transport ticket holders to the venue.

Tickets: Priced at Dh60 per person. People with special needs, the elderly and children aged 2 years or less can attend free.

Tickets can be purchased at Virgin Megastore, or by calling 80086823, or by visiting www.uaenationalday.ae

Some numbers:

10,000 square metres of staging

5,000 people working together for the production

900 performers

1,700 costumes

1,800 props